Caithness Convener Joins Call For Maternity Upgrading
4th September 2003
The Convener of The Highland Council's Caithness Area Committee, Councillor David Flear, has joined the call for health bosses to consider upgrading maternity services at Caithness General Hospital.
Councillor Flear intends raising the matter at the next Area Committee meeting on Monday 15 September and expects to send a firmly worded response to the Highland Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, who are currently reviewing maternity services provided in Wick as part of a Scotland-wide review.
The Area Committee will also seek a meeting with Professor Andrew Calder, the man leading the review on behalf of the Executive, who is visiting Caithness later this month.
Councillor Flear has been advised that the Trust are looking at an option to maintain the status quo at the 11-bed unit or to downgrade the service with consultant services moving to Raigmore Hospital, Inverness.
He believes that an option of upgrading the service to reduce risk should be added. It is one he believes will have significant support in the local community.
The matter surfaced on Tuesday at a meeting of the Trust in Wick, when The Highland Council Convener Councillor Alison Magee, who is a board member, expressed her concern that the matter had been raised at the meeting without prior notification and that there was no option for expanding services.
Councillor Flear said: "I am grateful to the Convener for highlighting this matter. Like her, I had not idea that the review of maternity services was going to be raised at this meeting. I agree entirely that the public must be fully involved in this review process. The process must be open and transparent. And the options being considered should not omit an investment in local services by providing more beds.
"I will be raising the matter at our next area committee meeting and will be ensuring that our voice is heard when Professor Calder comes north later this month.
"It is only two years since the last review of maternity services at Caithness General Hospital and the arguments that were presented for retaining and developing the unit are as valid today as they were then. I have no doubt that this is a matter that will race to the top of the political agenda and one which will generate a huge amount of community interest in the county."
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